I eagerly accepted their kind invitation. For one thing, it is for a good cause. Like most arts organizations these days, the GSO is operating in a tough economic environment. When dollars get tight, it is the arts that tend to feel the hurt first. Somehow, too many of us think of arts as some sort of nice-to-have-but-it-isn’t-all-that-important-to-society frou-frou for effete snobs.
Nothing could be further from the truth. I don’t think I would want to live in a world without music and art, literature and theater.
The arts are about finding new and exciting ways to express ourselves. I think that is why God gave us the ability to create beautiful music and inspiring art, great books and thought-provoking drama. Otherwise, we might as well be spider monkeys. Can you name one Broadway show ever written by a spider monkey? I rest my case.
Another reason I accepted the opportunity to refer to myself as a celebrity is that I hoped it would improve my reputation at home, where I am often relegated to second-class citizenship. It all started after my stint with the 1996 Olympic Games. I had built up a wealth of management experience there as well as during my days as vice president of BellSouth Corporation.
It seemed only right to give the Woman Who Shares My Name the benefit of my managerial expertise so one day while she was gone I reorganized her utensil drawer in the kitchen to create maximum efficiency and effectiveness. It was a thing of beauty.
To my shock and amazement, she wasn’t thrilled. She told me to devote my time to monitoring the International Monetary Fund and to bringing peace on earth and good will to all people, but to never, ever touch anything in her kitchen again.
It has been downhill ever since.
So it was with much pride and no small amount of self-satisfaction that I announced to her that I had been invited by the Friends of the Georgia Symphony Orchestra to serve as a celebrity at their luncheon and that from here on out, I expected to be treated with respect. I think celebrities should always be treated with respect. She told me to take the trash bucket to the street.
I told her I’d bet the other celebrities didn’t have to take their trash buckets down to the street. I can’t imagine Brad Pitt or George Clooney schlepping their trash buckets to the street. She said when I start making $20 million a year, we could talk about it.
Even then, I am still banned from kitchen management.
She’s a hard woman.
Even though my celebrity status is somewhat suspect at home, the Friends of the Georgia Symphony still want me to be part of the luncheon festivities at the Marietta Country Club on March 24. As you have no doubt read in the MDJ, there will be an outstanding array of personalities, ranging from athletes to artists to chefs, musicians to local political and civic leaders. Ron Clark, founder of the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta is the keynote speaker
Tickets are $35 and can be made online at www.GeorgiaSymphony.org. At that time, you can tell the organizers with whom you wish to sit. They encourage the celebrities to share stories and answer questions with the patrons. That is an assignment I take very seriously.
I told Betty Knautz, the chair of the event, that I might do a Power Point presentation for those at my table on how a utensil drawer could be organized for maximum efficiency and effectiveness if only one was ever given the opportunity to do so. Ms. Knautz didn’t sound particularly impressed with that idea so I thought it best not to bring up sharing my research on the proper way to grip a trash bucket so that empty bottles don’t rattle and encourage all the dogs in the neighborhood to bark for two hours.
I hope you will come and support this important fundraiser for the Georgia Symphony Orchestra. It will be a lot of fun and I look forward to being a part of the event. You and I both know that calling me a celebrity is like calling Fats Domino a concert pianist, but I’ll take my fame however I can get it.
You can reach Dick Yarbrough at firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139.